Wednesday, 23 January 2008


Today many Tamils in Malaysia, Singapore and South India celebrate the feast of Thaipusam, being a day where families gather in Hindu shrines across the country to celebrate the birthday of Lord Murugan, the youngest son of Lord Shiva and Parvati, also to commemorate the occasion when Parvati gave Murugan a vel (lance) so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman. Many young Hindus have their head shaved and fast on this day as a form of spiritual preparation on this pilgrimage to the temples.

Devotees also bear Kavadis (a form of physical penance) on their shoulders, and many also have skewers and piercings on their bodies as they make their way to the temples to offer milk to their deities.

I often photographed at Thaipusam in Kuala Lumpur when I am in Malaysia, and the portrait above of a young boy having his head shaved was taken last year and is in my book, MALAYSIANS.

Below are 6 images from Transcendence, part of a series of photographs in black and white I did on the theme of Thaipusam and self-purification. These were all photographed with a 50mm lens on film, Fujifilm Neopan 400, in 2002. I hope to resurrect this series one day.


Yang-May Ooi said...

What beautiful photos, Steven!

svllee said...

Hi ymo, thanks for your visit! I amglad you liked the portraits from Thaipusam, its one of my favourite events to cover on an annual basis.

Are you a photo enthusiast?

Tracy Tan said...

these are great photos!